I have considerable sympathy with the views expressed by the hon. Members for Southwark, North and Bermondsey and for North-East Hertfordshire. It would be a mistake if people who, under normal circumstances, were entitled to criminal compensation found themselves deprived. The amendments are defective and hold some dangers. They would further extend the powers of the police—a matter that caused concern earlier. We would be asking them not only to impose a fixed penalty but to determine compensation. That would be both difficult and impractical, given that the fixed penalty would most likely be administered shortly after the offence. In addition, it may be necessary to assess the extent of the damages, so the actual cost of the damage could not be known at the time.
I ask my hon. Friend the Minister to consider the issues raised to see whether there is another mechanism by which we can ensure that the victims do not lose the right to compensation, which would be an unintended consequence of the clause.